Building products for users in regions with poor internet connectivity can be a very challenging and an interesting one.
I was on the team that designed & built MyEtisalat app, an app that allow over 5million smartphone users on etisalat(now 9mobile) network get easy access to their products and services.
I was the senior product designer on the team leading the design and strategy of the product and also intersecting between the user and the business.
– iOs & Andriod App store
– High-fidelity prototype
– Interaction design
DESIGN + PROTOTYPE
– Principle for Mac
Customers frequently need help when they are trying to access services from their telecommunication service provider. They find it difficult to get the basic help they need in an easy way. The only option they have is to call the customer service number and wait in-line for hours and most cases they don’t get response.
– Customers don’t know their mobile phone numbers, they often call our call centre
just to ask for their phone numbers.
– Customers can’t remember codes to activate services on their mobile phone.
– Account managers can’t resolve corporate account issues on the go
– Purchasing data bundles wasn’t easy
– Activating and deactivate services was a big issue on the network.
– Customers want control of the services they have paid for
We had a lot of problems to fix, with limited budget, time and resources.
The budget for research was really low and no dedicated team to carry out research so I had to wear several hats, no google analytics setup because the product never existed, data were all in raw forms.
It was really challenging as this the first time the company would be building this kind of solution, most of the stakeholders were hardcore telecoms infrastructure expert with little or no experience in building and design products for mobile or web or any other platforms aside two communications.
I had to make sense out of the reports available:
– How many customers call the call centre on a daily?
– What are the 10 most frequently asked questions or cases?
– Why are they calling?
– Where are they calling from?
– The demography(age, gender, location) of the callers.
I organized a brainstorming session with the team managing the USSD menu which happens to be the only self-service channel then. I got lots of insight which really helped the team quickly get to work to solve the problems.
I used the walkthrough to quickly explain what the app is about and also communicate the unique USPs of the product.
The features of the app were all selected based on insight from the customer service team, most of the task users want to complete can now be done within the app with just a tap and they don’t need to call customer service again.
Once a user sign in to the app, the app automatically run through series of background task such as:
– Automatically display user phone number
– Airtime and Data balance
– Quick access to chat with a customer care agent
– Airtime and Data validity
These set of tasks that has been automatically completed are among the most frequently asked questions by the customers each time they call the customer service for help.
With just a tap, user can start the process of recharging their mobile phone, the app is connected to a payment gateway and a mobile money service.
The telecommunication industry in Nigeria is quite peculiar in nature, customers want more options to choose from, they don’t like to be boxed in anyway.
– Users always want to have an idea of how much data they have used.
– They want to be able to share their data with family and friends
– Lastly, they are sick and tired of remembering data bundle short codes each time they need to access their data services.
With MyEtisalat app, customers can now query their data usage history without calling customer service centre to request for this.
Sharing and gifting data made easy without having to send or remember codes.
Now users can pay for data bundles with their debit/credit cards from the convenience of their homes or office.
I was too excited about designing the product and I forgot to do user-testing for some of the design before going to production. I went straight to design and skipped some of the design processes – sketching and prototyping, stakeholders didn’t get the chance to give early feedback.
An improper testing actually cost us more because we had to design several iterations of the product before we got it right.
Early alignment with stakeholders is very important and also testing ideas and usability with users is as important as shipping the final product.